COLUMBIA — City voters will decide whether to approve Proposition 1, which seeks a five-year extension of a one-eighth-cent sales tax for parks.
The tax, if approved, would generate an estimated $12 million over the next five years. If the proposition fails, the tax would expire in March.
Shall the municipality of Columbia, Missouri impose a sales tax of one-eighth of one percent, for five (5) years, for the purpose of providing funding for local parks for the municipality?
The current one-fourth of one percent local parks sales tax is scheduled to be reduced to one-eighth of one percent on March 31, 2011. Approval of this proposition would keep the local parks sales tax rate at one-fourth of one percent for an additional five (5) years.
The City intends to use this sales tax to fund projects in the City's Parks, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan including renovations and improvements to existing parks, development of neighborhood and community parks, development of trails and greenbelts, and the acquisition of land for parks, trails, greenbelts and open space preservation.
Columbia actually has two sales taxes for parks. One is a permanent one-eighth-cent tax that funds the department's operations and helps pay off long-term debt. The other, which is up for renewal, is used for capital projects.
The Parks and Recreation Department and the Columbia City Council have compiled a long list of projects they promise to complete if voters extend the tax, including new restrooms along the MKT Trail, playground and other improvements at Cosmo Park, the first round of development at A. Perry Philips Park and Gans Creek Recreation Area, along with other projects at mid-size and neighborhood parks.
The parks department also has on its website a wealth of information about the sales tax, its history and projects it has funded in the past.